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Governor calls special session on state prisons

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey called for a special session to begin Monday to deal with federal lawsuits over the state’s prison system.

According to state law, Alabama lawmakers can only address the issues Ivey declares for the special session.

In Ivey’s proclamation for the session she called for legislators to issue a bond for up to $785 million to implement a prison modernization plan, for lawmakers to consider using up to $400 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to supplement prison modernization and to consider making 2013 sentencing standards retroactive.

“I am pleased and extremely hopeful that we are finally positioned to address our state’s prison infrastructure challenges,” Ivey said. “I appreciate the hard work of the legislative leadership and the many members who have worked diligently with my team to put us in position for a bipartisan proposal. While this issue was many years in the making, we stand united to provide an Alabama solution to this Alabama problem.”

Former Pike County Rep. Steve Flowers said the special session will most address all of the problems with the state’s prisons.

“This will very likely resolve all of the issues,” Flowers said. “This has been festering for five years. If we don’t do something about it, the federal government will fix it for us and hand us the bill.

“The governor has all her ducks in a row. Everything has been agreed on in advance. It’s been well planned and everybody agrees on it. It will most likely be resolved in the minimum five days for a special session.”

Flowers said the plan also includes the possibility of upgrading prisons in Bullock and Barbour Counties, which he said would benefit the area.